Press Release

Pew 2012 State Of The City Report Shows Philadelphia's Underlying Problems Remain Daunting, While Rising Young Adult Population Presents Opportunity


The Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia Research Initiative has published a new look at Philadelphia by the numbers, and it depicts a city in transition on a number of fronts—with familiar problems and one promising demographic trend.

“As the city comes out of the recession, some of its underlying concerns have returned to center stage,” said Larry Eichel, project director of the Philadelphia Research Initiative. “Among them are crime, poverty, a city government strapped with rising pension and health care costs, and a K-12 education system that is facing serious difficulties.”

In the past year, as documented in the report, Philadelphia: The State of the City, a 2012 Update, unemployment in Philadelphia was down, but job creation slowed from the year before. In 2011, Philadelphia gained about 2,100 jobs, compared with an increase of 4,400 in 2010. Residential building permits were up, but home sales dropped a sixth straight time, falling 10 percent from 2010. Violent crime fell overall, while the homicide total increased for the second year in a row.

One positive sign for the city's future is that the number of young adults in Philadelphia has risen substantially in recent years.  Between 2000 and 2010, the population of residents age 20 to 34 rose by more than 50,000, even as this age group accounted for a smaller percentage of the overall U.S. population. 

“This increasingly diverse city has been doing quite well in attracting young adults, and a key challenge moving forward is to hang on to those people as they get older and their incomes and families grow,” said Eichel. 

The new report updates 10 indicators of how Philadelphia is faring, building on the findings of the more comprehensive State of the City report published last March. The update also includes results from Pew's most recent poll of city residents. 

Read more and access the report PDF and an interactive graphic featuring data from both the 2011 and 2012 reports. 

Next year, Pew intends to publish a comprehensive sequel to the 2011 State of the City report.  All of the Philadelphia Research Initiative's reports are available at

About The Philadelphia Research Initiative
The Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia Research Initiative provides timely, impartial research and analysis on key issues facing Philadelphia for the benefit of the city's citizens and leaders.  Pew is a nonprofit organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.